Always have one of these classic sales hot buttons ready to lead with, and another in reserve, before you dial the call to the prospect or Decision Maker (“DM”)to ask for a meeting. (In many ways, these are similar to the brief “elevator speech” you should have ready; we talk about elevator speeches in another article.)
(As a matter of good practice, you should have these sales hot buttons in mind even before you first dial the prospect’s secretary, so you will be ready when the screen puts you through.)
Sales hot button #1: You are following up on a personal referral from someone the prospect knows and respects.
This particular sales hot button also tends to be a very powerful door-opener. But be sure to pronounce the referral’s name and organization clearly, so the prospect makes the connection quickly. Here’s a model to adapt:
“My firm has recently completed a project with Lucas Industries, and Mr. Lucas suggested that we contact you. He felt that we may have areas of mutual interest. Perhaps he has already talked to you about this?”
Sales hot button #2: Highlight key relevant cases from your successful track record.
Again, be succinct. Talk “bottom-line.” That is, emphasize what these cases imply you can DO FOR the prospect or the organization, not the technical details of the product or service you offer.
A sales hot button is just that: a button to push, not a long “information dump.” If the hot button works, you’ll know it, and then you can fill in the details.
These first models are appropriate if you already have experience that is directly on-target.
“We’ve been able to help a number of other law firms in the area reduce their overhead costs. This translates into an average of ten-percent greater profitability. I’d like to meet with you to explain how we may be able to help your firm, as well.”
Or, “As an art consultant, I work with several other people in the Great Falls area who are interested in art for both aesthetic and investment reasons. In about 15 minutes together we can determine whether this is appropriate for you.”
Or, “I design training programs, and have recently worked with two large banks in the mid-west. As a consultant to these banks, I developed teller training that increased the productivity of tellers by over fifteen percent. I believe I can do the same for your bank. I’d like to meet with you for a half-hour to explore the possibilities.”
But suppose you don’t yet have independent experience to refer to? That is, what if all your work has been as an employee, and not as a consultant or self-employed? One approach is to modify your lead-in. Thus you could rephrase the last model above as,
“When I was at BigBank, I headed a team that developed teller training that increased productivity by…”
Alternately, if you have just set up your business and don’t yet have successes to refer to, you can suggest a potential need area, leaving it to the DM to infer that you have the necessary capability for meeting it successfully:
“As you know, one of the most troublesome problems facing most law firms is how to store and access key data. We can offer you a solution that will both save your firm a significant amount of money the first year, and increase your access to this information.”
Or, “I’m an art consultant. I believe it would be worth your time to meet with me for a half-hour at your convenience to discuss a program I offer, as I think it may have significant investment potential for you.”
Sales hot button #3: BRIEFLY outline what you believe you can do for this organization.
Again, since sales hot buttons are to capture the DM’s interest, emphasize what you can do FOR the prospect or the organization, not the details of what you DO. What people really set out to buy are results, not products or services. The product or service is a means to an end for them.
An effective sales hot button is a concise, “netted-out” statement, usually not more than a couple or three sentences. You will lose the prospect’s attention if you are too long-winded. Here’s a model to adapt:
“I’m calling because I have ideas to share on how my firm may be able to reduce your turnaround time on receivables.”
Notice how this model sales script is designed to intrigue the potential client through a mention of an area of interest — how you can speed up payments, and hence improve cash flow and profitability. It DOES NOT get into the technical wizardry of the software program you have developed and hope to install.
Your earlier homework in researching the organization may trigger some initial ideas on ways in which you may be able to help:
“My readings on the difficulties your firm is having in keeping up with demand for your products indicated to me that…”
Or, raise suggestions from your experience of how organizations like this may need help:
“I’ve been able to help a number of emerging firms like yours, and it’s been my experience that you may be experiencing certain typical difficulties in this stage of your growth.”
Do not get bogged down at this point in the details of how you will do what you propose to do: leave that for the face-to-face meeting.
Sales hot button #4: Explain that you are calling to provide information the key Decision Maker requested earlier.
If you are calling in response to the prospect’s request for information, that clearly is a door-opener. But as you lead with it, be sure to make the point clearly that you are following up at the prospect’s own request.
You may also need to refresh her memory of the context in which that request was made:
“We met following my talk last week before the local CDE Association, and you asked me if I had ever heard of the method being applied to your industry. The question intrigued me, and I researched it, and came up with some interesting results. I’d like to meet with you to share these findings. Would an afternoon later this week, or early next week be convenient?”